Minerals and Rocks Reference Collection
Minerals and industrial processed (or synthetic) minerals are found in an enormous range of materials from asphalt and cement to food products and vitamins, just to name a few. Whether the goal is to determine where in the world a sand sample originated or to characterize an inorganic corrosion product on the surface of a meat cutting blade, the key to a successful mineral identification is the accurate characterization of the material being analyzed. For soil samples, which can contain numerous minerals and even different varieties of the same mineral, it can be critical to be able to a) confirm the identification, b) interpret the geological provenance of a particular variety, or c) understand the incorporation of an unusual ion in a synthetic crystal. For this reason, Microtrace has gathered and continues to curate what is likely the largest purpose-built collection of forensic minerals. This collection includes materials ranging from hand-isolated heavy mineral grains, to vetted reference collections of clays and asbestos minerals with known provenance, to oriented polished thin sections that illustrate optical phenomena that have been forgotten by most everyone but a thinning population of optical mineralogists. Together these collections help our scientists not only to perform the highest level forensic soil comparisons and geographic sourcing investigations, but provide skills that can be transferred to the characterization of other materials ranging from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to nanomaterials and highly engineered ceramics.